Will McIntosh. Frankenstein, Frankenstein. (Asimovs, Oct/Nov 2010)

A travelling carnival wagon proudly proclaiming it contains Frankenstein’s monster manages to convince most of its audience when it pitches up in the small towns it visits. Having a tall, scarred man with a foot long iron spike protruding from the top and bottom of his head is a pretty convincing creature.

Having miraculously survived a mining accident in which a premature explosion embedded said spike into his head, to little effect, Phineas Gage finds life on the road passably tolerable. Even when dealing with afficionados of the fictional doctor, one of whom to whom he provides, for a small fee, his memories of when Victor Frankenstein created him.

Things get complex when a competitor turns up, an even more hulking specimen, doing the fairground circuit. But, businessmen being businessmen, they turn their meeting up to good effect, charging to witness them fighting each other.

The tone of the story darkens when they arrive at the World’s Fair in Chicago, when they find that the afficionado of Victor Frankenstein has used Tesla’s new invention to create a creature made from parts of several dead people. However, the creature, rather than being a fearsome monster, is a pitiable, mewling things in terrible pain.

The second best story featuring a Tesla-powered Frankenstein monster at Chicago Worl Fair that I have read in the past couple of months. (The first : here.)

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